Monday, November 24, 2008


Today we learned from Alistair Darling the details of Gordon Brown's 'Grand Plan' to solve the UK's financial crisis by borrowing £116 Billion! VAT will be reduced to 15%, so Brown is encouraging people who are already in debt, many now unemployed with mortgage arrears to spend more money and get deeper into debt.

The current UK financial crisis was mainly caused by Gordon Brown's heavy public borrowing over 11 years and failure to build up financial reserves during the good years. Brown encouraged the whole nation to live beyond its means, destroyed the pensions industry in 1997 and sold off our gold reserves at a low price.

Many people are being driven to despair by unemployment and debt. Today's Pre Budget announcement will discourage you from drowning your sorrows with a drink, a cigarette or a car drive because tax on alcohol, petrol and cigarettes goes up by 8% on 1 December! The VAT reduction only benefits those who spend money on goods and services - it will not put any money in your pocket or pay your bills.

On Sunday I went Christmas shopping for my 4 small grandchildren and there were few people in the shops. The Credit Crunch is starting to bite so let's hope that the VAT reduction does help to revive the economy. Make the most of it now because in 2009 you will have to pay more tax and National Insurance to pay for it all.

Eric Devan has asked me if I will attend Bedfordshire County Council's Farewell Legacy Concert in February. The answer is yes, because the musicians will be schoolchildren performing free from Bedfordshire Music, the County Music Service, one of the best in the UK. I am Vice Chairman of Bedfordshire Music, which has several orchestras and chamber groups and as Bedford's Youth Champion I will continue to support all talented young musicians who play high quality music.

The local media misreported Bedfordshire County Council's plans to mark its demise after 120 years. The legacy concert will not cost much and the County Civic Church Service is an annual event similar to Bedford Borough Council's Carol Service. Most of the £250k budget will be spent on planting trees in the Forest of Marston Vale, a major scheme to provide 'green lungs' across a barren part of Bedfordshire which was formerly a wasteland of quarries and landfill dumps. This tree planting will improve the quality of life and environment for Bedfordshire residents.

On Saturday I enjoyed a superb performance of Edward Elgar's King Olaf by the Bedford Choral Society and the Bedfordshire Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ian Smith. As ever Bedford showed off its wealth of talented singers and musicians.

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